A Complete Guide: How to Get an Ohio Compact Nursing License

Opportunity just got a whole lot bigger for Ohio LPNs and RNs! If you haven’t heard the news, Ohio is joining the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) in January 2023.

One of the goals of the eNLC is to increase access to care while maintaining public protection at the state level. Under this license, nurses can practice in other compact states without needing an additional license for that state.

How many states are currently part of the Nurse Licensure Compact?

The majority of the U.S. is part of this multi-state agreement that allows nurses to use their license to practice in other compact states. As of right now, 41 states are compact nursing states/territories.

States that joined the Nurse Licensure Compact in 2023 include Ohio, Rhode Island, Washington State and Pennsylvania. Washington and Pennsylvania have partially implemented the compact, which means that nurses who hold multistate licenses may practice in those states, but current Pennsylvania and Washington nurses are not yet able to apply for their multistate licenses yet.


Where/How do I apply for my MSL?

As of January 2023, Ohio nurses can apply for their MSL. Remember, to obtain your MSL, you must reside in a participating compact state and present proof that it’s your primary state of residence. Ohio nurses can apply for their MSL on or after January 3, 2023.

Ohio nurses won't won't be able to submit a conversion service request until January 3 (due to the holiday on January 1). On or after January 3,
Ohio nurses will need to submit a service request (also known as a conversion request) through the Ohio eLicense portal.

If you’re a new grad, you’ll need to apply for your license via eLicense, which is Ohio’s Professional Licensure System.


How long will it take for my MSL application to be officially approved?

The Ohio Board of Nursing (OBN) anticipates several weeks, as they're expecting a large influx of requests in early January.

Fingerprints and Criminal Record Check

According to the Ohio Board of Nursing, all nurses who are applying for their MSL will need current BCI and FBI criminal record checks. This step must be completed before your single state Ohio nursing license can be converted to MSL. This can be done via WebCheck, which offers hundreds of location across the state of Ohio. Your criminal record check results are good for one year.

Bonus Tips CTA-4

Visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to download an updated NLC map or list of participating compact states.

Looking for a Travel Nursing Contract?Blog CTA_General, Travel, Client (2)-1

Multi-State License Checklis

To get a compact license, nurses must meet the following requirements:

Compact Checklist_Blog_Ohio Nurses


I’m a nursing student - what do I need to do

The Ohio Board of Nursing breaks down the application process. Nursing students should prepare a couple months prior to graduation. Before taking the NCLEX, they can apply for licensure by examination (an application fee is required), submit state and federal criminal record check information, and register with Pearson VUE.

Will I have to pay a fee to get my MSL?

 In Ohio, the one-time conversion fee from your single state license to MSL is $100. This cost is the same for LPNs and RNs. Nursing licensure fees and application requirements vary by state.


Can I check the status of my MSL application

Yes! Ohio LPNs and RNs can check the status of their compact nursing license via Nursys.

4 Benefits of a Compact Nursing License

1. Travel Nursing Opportunities
January 2023Ohio joining the eNLC is excellent news for nurses who love to travel, or who have a residence in another state (especially for nurses who are looking for a contract down south during the winter). Starting in January 2023, Ohio nurses could easily work on a travel nursing assignment, or per diem, in Florida or any of the other participating compact states with no additional cost/paperwork. Thinking about starting a career in travel nursing? NCBSN explains what you need to know in this video.

 2. Working with Underserved/Rural Populations
If you’re used to working in a bustling metropolitan city like Columbus or Cleveland, you know that these big-city locations tend to have lots of options for healthcare, whether that’s choosing a hospital, primary care, or long-term care.

Ohio nurses can travel or offer Telehealth services to underserved populations outside of the big city. People living in rural areas have limited access to healthcare and oftentimes, the nearest hospital might be 50+ miles away from their home. For example, Nebraska is a compact nursing state and has a few pockets of rural areas – McPherson County only has a population of about 500 people. This is also true in parts of Texas, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, and Nevada. Taking a short-term assignment in a rural area can certainly help underserved populations.

3. Teleservices
Want to stay in your home state but practice virtually via Telehealth? That’s an option too. Ohio nurses will be able to easily practice in-person or provide virtual (Telehealth) nursing services to patients who reside in any of the compact states.

4. Offer Disaster Relief
Whether it’s a hurricane, power outage or pandemic like COVID-19, a compact state can easily send top-of-the-line nurses to the disaster area in need.

If you have additional questions about obtaining a compact nursing license, please contact your state’s Board of Nursing directly.

Blog CTA_General, Travel, Client (3)


Contact Us

LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.